I got introduced to Cursed through a friend who sent me some online “Ten Best Canadian Metal Albums of All Time” list. Now, I do know the Canadian scene has been prolific in producing quality efforts from both old and modern bands such as Gorguts, early 3 Inches of Blood, and the legendary Cryptopsy. But I did not know about Cursed’s “One” and was curious to hear what some call Canada’s best Hardcore/Metal release. Time to get inside this sick album!
Being far from a hardcore or punk fan, I wanted this album to somehow surprise me and I’m glad to say it did. Released in 2003, It’s a heavy listen that isn’t defined as hardcore\metal for no reason – the rhythm section’s fast-paced chord strums you expect intersect with downright metal riffs, dissonant breaks and vicious drum patterns, resulting in this untraditional uncompromising beatdown that embraces Hardcore fundamentals but is unafraid to take the genre to the next level; The band infusing their music again and again with newfound layers of sonic aggressions that are very sludgy. Add to that Chris Colohan’s harsh voice and you got a real violent thing going on sound-wise, but not to an overbearing level, since “One” is mixed well.
While I could discuss all tracks, my two favorite here reside at the album’s middle point – the lengthy doom-filled heavy metal-esque instrumental “How Great Things Happen When You Give Up Hope” and its follower “1947“. Kind of a personal anthem, angry and screaming, the latter includes some incredible, instantly memorable moments that define Cursed; a band of ferocity and integrity whose song structures constantly vary but are also always solid.
You could maybe say the band bridges genres on this effort, but at its heart “One” is still a total hardcore album – its just heavier in sound and syncopation more than many metal releases. The strongest tracks on “One” beside those I already mentioned are probably “Polygraph“, “God and Country” and the lyrically intriguing, frantic “Bloody Mary“. The band’s lyrics in general are never a bore. So whether you’re a fan of the genre, or have a momentary interest in it , I recommend trying this classic release. 8/10
Next time I need a dose of hardcore music, I’ll be sure to check out Cursed‘s other material on their second and third album, fittingly named “Two” and “Three“.